Monday, November 12, 2012

First Local CX Weekend

Finally, I'm home for a weekend that also consisted of some awesome local CX racing. AZ cyclocross is a great way for me to work on my weaknesses due to the fact that they are always on super fast grass and have a ton of straight aways. Being able to throw down the power is crucial here.

    The weekend started off at HammerFest CX night race. There was tons of spectators and the course was killer. These are basically the two key ingredients to any good Cross race. I lined up front row and got the whole shot. This was a must because it allowed me to be first into the sand section and ride the whole thing, giving me a instant gap. After the first lap, it was four of us in the lead. Of course our fastest AZ pro roadie threw down some massive watts on one of the flat sections and we just couldn’t match it. The race was down to 3 guys for 2nd and it was so on! 

    My legs were feeling super open and ready for this hour of pain due to a new warm up routine my coach Jim and I went over a few days before the race. I have to say, working with CTS this season has truly been amazing. Solid coaching gives confidence to a rider, and confidence produces results.

    The whole race was filled with 180 degree corner crashes, throwing elbows, and pain. In the last few corners I had a second or two gap when I hit the ground hard. I jumped back up and hauled ass to catched 2nd only to pass him after he slid out a few corners later, go figure. It was one of those races that I just rode smart and it resulted in an awesome second place.

    The next day consisted of a very fast and powerful track. This meant I had to play a more tactical game and save it for the last few laps. I railed every tech section to get a few seconds gap, then held my own on the flats. With 3 to go, an attacked was thrown down that I just didn’t have enough left in the tank to cover right on the spot. I was able to keep the gap at about 10-13 seconds by hopping the barriers and hitting every line and corner faster than I had all day. Unfortunately, this still meant second place. Man was it nice to be racing at the front of the race again. Racing the USGP meant that you are fighting for a top 30 after starting in the 60s. This totally made me even more hungry for the next USGP in Bend!

Great weekend of racing and training! Few more weeks of local cross races and interval days before heading to LACX and the USGP again. Lets do it!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Spooky Cross

    A quick 5 hour drive from my house and I arrived at Pomona, California for Spooky Cross. This is one of those races you can always expect to have an awesome course and an awesome experience. The hardest thing this weekend brings to the table is that you race at 8:30pm the first night, then you are quickly racing again at 4pm the next day. Your body isn’t used to racing the same time you are usually getting ready for bed.

    Personally, I have never been great at night races. It may be the fact that in Arizona you get up at the crack of dawn to ride and beat the heat, but either way, I knew I was going to give it whatever I had. I threw down a serious warm up to get my legs nice and open from a day spent in the car and settling in. I lined up second row and was ready to rock for and hour. Heart was gaining beats, and I was gaining nerves, but I took a few calming breaths and before I knew it, we we all sprinting like there was mad dog behind us. The first few laps were the worst, I had a great start, yet I was losing a place or two every few minutes. After the first lap and a half or so, my legs kicked in and so did I. I rode the rest of the race better than I have ridden any race in my life and made back some serious ground eventually finishing in 17th or 18th. I was in the money as well as taking 2nd in the U23 category. This really showed me how well my legs were coming along from all the harsh training.

    After a solid night of sleep, I was ready to do it all again. Second days of racing always sets my legs up for optimal performance and I was ready to do some work. The course didn’t change all that much, and the barriers were still very much hop-able which gave me the small advantage yet again. This year I have developed and been provided with many advantages over the competition that results in me always feeling great no matter what the day. My new 1X10 set up with my amazing Rotor Rings allows me to never drop a chain, lighten up my bike, and have the most efficient and powerful pedal stroke form the Rotor Ring which in the end, clears my head of any worries. On top of this, I’m riding my new BH RX team, with the addition of it’s new geometry, allows me to throw down the power along with shredding the corners even faster.

    I brought awesome legs to the second day of racing. I was top five in the start, but due to a crash in front of me, I was quickly sent to the back. Luckily, my legs were still ready to go and I fought all the way back to 16th or 17th place and 2nd in U23 again. I was thrilled with how the racing is going and am so ready for the biggest races ahead. Up next is the LACX races, USGP in Oregon, CX Natz, and hopefully World Champs. Now, it’s time to go home and hit up a serious block of training provided by CTS’s Jim Lehman to set me up even better for the races ahead!